Processing shutdowns are forcing adjustments in the supply chain
With unprecedented slow-downs in the processing sector related to COVID-19, an ag economist says animals are expected to back up at the producer level.
Glynn Tonsor with K-State University says he anticipates feedlots and hog finishing operations doing what they can to slow the growth of animals. “What I mean by that is tweak the ration and get closer to a maintenance ration opposed to a growth ration,” he says. “And the best they can alter the flow of animals coming in to buy time to getting flexibility when they have to push animals out the door.”
He tells Brownfield that is not an easy task, especially in market hog production. “The hog sector is dialed in more tightly,” he says. “Maybe not to the minute, but to the day. There’s less wiggle room normally. Things are scheduled – from fill a barn, wash a barn, empty a barn, and repeat.”
Tonsor says the cattle complex works more in a weekly flow, which provides cattle finishing operations a little more flexibility and the ability to hold cattle a little longer.
But, he says the entire supply chain has been forced to adjust. “They’re doing their best to keep the chain going and making economical decisions,” he says. “Those have implications for them and in aggregate they have implications for the availability of meat products and prices. Not just today, but in the future.”
AUDIO: Glynn Tonsor, K-State University